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Jacques Chirac

French people believe Chirac is matched only by De Gaulle - poll

People gather to pay tribute to late former French President Jacques Chirac in Nice, France, September 27, 2019.
People gather to pay tribute to late former French President Jacques Chirac in Nice, France, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Jacques Chirac, who died Thursday at the age of 86, is considered by the French as the best president of the Fifth Republic, and tied only with Charles de Gaulle.

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According to an Ifop poll published in the Journal du Dimanche, Sunday, he received a preferential vote of 30 percent of respondents, up 20 points compared to a similar Ifop survey in November 2013. François Mitterrand tumbled from 28 percent to 17 percent.

Surprisingly, supporters of the left wing party, France Unbowed, gave him the highest approval rating with 39 percent followed by the far right National Rally (32 percent) and well ahead of the conservative party, Les Republicans (25 percent), who prefer Charles de Gaulle (48 percent).

Chirac is most popular with French people under the age of 35 (47 percent) – with the most support in any group in the 25-34 year olds (50 percent) category. Among over 35-years-old the biggest support as (23 percent), with 33 percent opting for De Gaulle.

Twenty-three percent of those in higher socio-professional categories choose Chirac, compared to 27 percent of intermediaries and 38 percent among the less well off.

Alain Juppé is perceived by 62 percent of respondents as the political heir of Chirac, far ahead of all other politicians.

In terms of the most important actions during his presidency, opposition to the war in Iraq is by far the most often cited (71 percent), followed by the the suppression of military service (41 percent) or the discourse on ecology and " our burning house "in Johannesburg in 2002 (33 percent).

Asked about the image they will retain of the former head of state,  respondents replied:

  • a genial individual who loved life (31 percent)
  • an elected representative close to the French" (27 percent),
  • a great statesman" (18 percent),
  •  president who made few reforms" (7 percent),
  • a professional politician that has often changed his mind (7 percent),
  • a right-wing politician who refused “to compromise with the National Front (6 percent)
  • a ruthless political fighter (4 percent).

The survey the result of a by self-administered questionnaire online on September 27 with a sample of 1,015 French people aged 18 or over.

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